"We're in the dining room packing up dishes," I called out. "Maybe you need some china?" I asked, as he appeared from the hallway.
"Hmm, roses, daisies... probably not. Doesn't fit my linear architecture or ultra-modern décor."
"Did you hire those decorators, what are they called... Straight Eye for the Queer Guy?"
glared at me. Elizabeth
"What?" I asked. "I'm just making conversation."
"Ha-ha," Silas said, winking at me. "No. I have impeccable taste all on my own."
"Fabulous," I said. "So what kind of impeccable sofa will Josie be sleeping on?"
"One that isn't mine," Silas answered, without missing a beat.
said. "That's not a lifestyle a young, impressionable girl should be subjected to." Her voice was even, but she turned away from me while shaking her head, so I couldn't see her facial expression. Elizabeth
Didn't matter – Silas knew an escape route when he saw one.
"Exactly my point. Thanks, Liz."
"Don't mention it," she answered.
Josie cracked up. "You guys are too funny. Don't worry, Si, Jessie didn't like working for you, so I'm sure living with you would be terrible. I'll be fine here. Really. New subject. Anyone?"
"I have news,"
said, and this time I could see her face, and she was half-smiling. Elizabeth
"You're not grinning nearly big enough to be pregnant," I offered.
"No, that's not it. I'm going back to school."
"Good for you, Liz," Silas said, heaving one loaded box on top of another against the wall. "That's terrific."
"Where are you going and what are you taking?" Josie wanted to know.
"Theology and Religious Studies at the private college, starting next fall," she answered, with a wry smile directed at me. "I already registered."
Did she know me, or what? "Ew," I said. "That sounds perfectly awful, but whatever works. I think it's great that you're going back to school."
"Education feeds the mind and all that," Silas said. "Congratulations."
Josie jumped in. "Yeah, congrats. It'd be way cooler if you came to UMD with me, though. We could take classes together."
"It was Mother's idea,"
admitted. "She suggested I pursue something other than conception for a while. She was polite enough about it, but she was sort of saying in a round about way that maybe I'm too obsessed." Elizabeth
"Well, maybe," I agreed. "Obsessions are nice if they bring happiness. But you've been half-crazy with disappointment for a long time."
"Yeah, I think that's what she was saying. So anyway. I'm going to try not to worry about it for a while."
"That's cool," I said. "Maybe while you're not obsessing, something will happen."
"I don't know if reverse physiology actually works," Silas laughed. "But I give you kudos for pursuing your education."
"Didn't you tell me that Jeremy's planning on going to graduate school up here?" I asked him.
"Did I say that? I'm not sure what he's doing yet."
"Silas's boyfriend," I answered.
"Not boyfriend. Not exactly. Just someone I see."
"You said you see him every weekend, Si, that makes him a boyfriend."
Silas and Elizabeth looked equally uncomfortable with this line of discussion.
"If you have a boyfriend, you have to bring him next Sunday. That's the rule," Josie announced, eyes steady on Silas.
Silas stuck his tongue out at me like he always did when we were little. "Tattle-tale," he whispered.
said, looking nervous. "I don't think it's at all necessary for you to bring another man to Sundays." Elizabeth
Silas looked relieved. "Right. I agree. There is no reason for Jeremy to meet the family. It's not like we're getting married."
"Not fair," Josie argued. "I had to bring every boyfriend I ever had. It was agony. I don't see why Silas should get out of it."
"He's an adult," Liz said. "It's different. Besides, it would be very uncomfortable."
"For who?" Josie demanded to know. "Silas? So what? Nobody cared how uncomfortable I was. If I wanted to go on a date with a guy, he had to come over on Sunday. What was it you always said, Silas? If I didn't want the family to meet him, there must be something wrong with him in the first place. Jessie, would you be uncomfortable?"
"Nope," I said. "I'm dying to meet him."
"Melanie wouldn't be uncomfortable, either. There. Three against two. I think you should bring him next week."
"I think what I meant, Jo-Jo, was that if a boy didn't want to meet your family, then he couldn't have good intentions toward you."
Josie really did have to bring every date to meet us, all through high school. We were very protective of our 'baby' sister. Which is kind of hysterical because we discouraged Melanie from bringing her low-life love interests around. Josie was special. We all felt it – she was beautiful and happy from the moment she was born, and filled our house with sunshine and light. She was our Josie, and anyone who might hurt her had better tread very, very carefully.
"He doesn't want to meet us?" Jo-Jo stamped her foot in outrage.
"No, no," Silas backtracked. "I'm sure he'd love to meet you, but –"
"It's settled, then," she said firmly. "Bring him next week."
"Aw, man," Silas groaned.